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The sites show the longhouse, a smaller “old folk’s house” and a hayshed.

The sites show the longhouse, a smaller “old folk’s house” and a hayshed. (Peter Emil Kaland)

Lurekalven is an unpopulated island of heather moor which is a part of the wilderness belonging to the five farms on Ytre Lygra. Between the two islands there is only a small sound. As late as the 1920s, milking cows were rowed over the sound from Lygra in summer – a form of farming that was adapted to the coastal landscape.

Around 1960, the winter grazing of farm animals out here came to an end. Less grazing resulted in the gradual taken over by bushes and trees. The reafforestation of the last 40 years up until the renovations were carried out has been far more dramatic than the changes in vegetation that were documented after the Black Death.With the building of the Lynghei Centre, the heather moors were restored once again.

Pollen analysis shows that the island was cleared of forest, and the heather moor-based farming in place already in the 700s. In Viking times and up until the Black Death (1350 A.D), Lurekalven was an independent farm. The depopulation following the Black Death affected the farms lying on the outskirts of the central settlements in the communities. When the farm was left empty, the name of the farm most often also disappeared; replaced by the ubiquitous Island farm or Island ground. After the Black Death, the farm was deserted, but the island continued to have grazing land.

The archaeological excavations in the 1970s revealed traces of both houses and fields. The site shows a longhouse with rough kitchen, living quarters, shed and hayshed with cowshed. Around the central yard are traces of stone mounds and fields in sunny slopes. Ceramic from Europe was also discovered in the building ruins.This shows that production from the farm was large enough to take to the market (Bryggen) in Bergen and trade for imported goods. The fields that were cultivated amounted to about a 1000 m² - mostly used in the growing of barley.

  • A cross-section (left) and pollen diagram (right) that shows how the peat layers give information about the changes in vegetation at Lurekalven.

A cross-section (left) and pollen diagram (right) that shows how the peat layers give information about the changes in vegetation at Lurekalven. (Mons Kvamme / Eva Bjørseth)

  • A piece of lead with runic writing found on a site at Lurekalven.

A piece of lead with runic writing found on a site at Lurekalven.(Peter Emil Kaland)

  • This is how the longhouse may have looked.

This is how the longhouse may have looked. (Reconstruction by Marvin Halleraker 1992, after Nils Georg Brekke.)

  • Aarrestad, P. A.; Vandvik, V.2000. Vegetasjonsendringer i vestnorsk kystlynghei – effekter av skjøtselsformene brann og sauebeite ved rehabilitering av gammel lynghei på Lurekalven i Hordaland. NINA fagrapport 044.
  • Kvamme, M. 1982. En vegetasjonshistorisk undersøkelse av kulturlandskapets utvikling på Lurekalven, Lindås hd., Hordaland. Hovedf.oppg. UiB.Botanisk institutt.